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John Gay, 1685-1732

Poet and playwright John Gay was born in Barnstaple, England on June 30, 1695. He is best known for The Beggar’s Opera (1728), a ballad opera with music arranged by Johann Christoph Pepusch. In 1718, he joined his longtime friend Alexander Pope in a visit to Stanton Harcourt, near Oxford. It was during this time that he wrote the libretto of Acis and Galatea, with contributions from both Pope and Hughes.

Alexander Pope, 1688-1744

Born in London on May 21, 1688, Alexander Pope was a poet and satirist widely recognized for his translations of Homer’s Iliad and The Odyssey. Famous for his use of the heroic couplet, his epigrams are some of the most frequently quoted passages in the English language. 

John Hughes, 1677-1720

Writer and librettist John Hughes was probably born on January 29, 1678 at Marlborough, Wiltshire. His largest undertaking was a six-volume edition of Edmund Spenser’s works (1715), the first critical edition of Spenser. His most original and poetic contribution, however, was his role in the campaign for dramatic and vocal music in English.


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